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Esther iv. 14.
elsewhere ; and been matter of unspeakable grief to other CHARLES Churches. That it is hoped the glory of this great work is reserved for his majesty : and his soul trembles to think what the consequence may be, if this opportunity should be neglected. And here he takes the freedom to glance a menacing text in Esther upon the king. “ As to the king's argument, that the force of the priest's
843. character, and by consequence the benefit of the sacraments, must be lost in the abolition of episcopacy, he replies, first, that episcopacy cannot make out a claim to apostolical appointment; that, when the apostles were living, there was no modern difference between a bishop and a presbyter, no inequality in power or degree, but an exact parity in every branch of their character ; that the apostles, describing the functions of Church-officers, make no mention, either expressly or by implication, of a pastor or bishop superior to other pastors ; that, in the ministry of the New Testament, there is a beautiful subordination, one kind of ministers are placed in degree and dignity before another, as the apostles first, the evangelists, pastors, &c.; but, in offices of the same rank and kind, we do not find,” continues this gentleman,“that one had any odds of power or preference in degree before another. For instance, no apostle is constituted superior to other apostles, no evangelist is raised above another evangelist, nor has any deacon a priority above others in that order. Why, then, must we suppose a particularity in the character of a pastor, and that one pastor should have some essential prerogatives and jurisdiction above another ? That, in matters of discipline or Church-censures, our Saviour's direction, “ Tell it to the Church,' refers to the congregation, and not to the bishop.
“ Farther : he humbly desires his majesty to take notice, that arguing from the practice of the primitive Church and the universal consent of the Fathers is not without a fallacy; that the Papists support their traditions by such reasoning ; that the law and the testimony must be the rule ; besides, the practice of the universal Church for many years cannot certainly be known ; that Eusebius, as this divine misreports him, confesses as much ; that, in the apostles' time, Diotrephes moved for the pre-eminence, and the mystery of iniquity began to work ;' that, afterwards, ambition in some and weakness in others made way for a change in Church-government ;
but that all the learned and godly in those early ages gave in to such an alteration, is more than can be proved.
“ This divine takes it for granted his majesty will not deny the lawfulness of the ministry and the due administration of the sacraments in the reformed Churches, in Churches where there are no diocesan bishops; that it is not only evident from Scripture, but confessed by many of the strongest champions for episcopacy, that presbyters may ordain presbyters; and that baptisms, administered by a midwife or a lay-person, and by a presbyter not ordained by a bishop, are by no means one and the same thing."
To disengage his majesty from his coronation-oath, as far as it relates to the Church, he conceives the formal reason of the oath ceases, and by consequence the obligation is discharged. To make this reasoning bear in the application, he observes, " that when an oath has a special regard to the benefit of those to whom the engagement is made, if the parties interested relax upon the point, dispense with the promise, and give up their advantage, the obligation is at an end. Thus, for instance, when the parliaments of both kingdoms have agreed to the repealing a law, the king's conscience is not tied against signing the bill, otherwise the legislature would be bound to the present establishment, and the altering any law would be impracticable. But if the king objects the matter of the oath is unchangeable, he refers his majesty to what has been offered upon the former head."
The king, in his second paper, “ conceives Henderson's precedents from the Old Testament are no evidence that any reformation is lawful, unless under the conduct of the regal authority; and that Henry VIII.'s reformation being imperfect, is no proof of any defects of that carried on by king Edward and queen Elizabeth ; that Henderson cannot prove God has ever given the multitude leave to reform the negligence of princes;' and that this divine must grant there is a great difference between permission and approbation ; that Henderson has failed in his promise, and not assigned any reason for refining upon the Reformation since queen Elizabeth's time : that it was well he called Grosthead's sentence a hard saying, for the doctrine held forth in it has a very ill complexion ; that his comparing our Reformation to the Laodicean lukewarmness, and citing remonstrances in proof of it, is
The King's Second Paper, June 6, 1646.
but an unhandsome way of begging the question ; for his busi- CHARLES ness was, first, to make out that those men had reason to complain, and that the schism was to be charged upon the conformists; that he ought to have left the apostolical institution of episcopacy to have been made good by his majesty. However, if he could have proved the presbyterian government practised in the primitive times, the performance had been considerable. On the other hand, the king denies this Churchgovernment was ever set up before Calvin's time, and leaves the proof of the affirmative to Henderson; that it was his majesty's business to show the lawfulness, the uninterrupted succession, and by consequence the necessity, of episcopacy ; that, in order to this, the convenience of books, and the assistance of such learned men as his majesty could trust, would be requisite ; and that, therefore, Henderson's declining a conference with divines nominated by the king might prove a loss of time.
“And whereas Henderson pretended a fallacy in reasoning from the practice of the primitive Church and the universal consent of the Fathers;' his majesty conceives his exception indefensible : for, if the sense of a doubtful place of Scripture is not to be governed by such an authority, it will necessarily follow that the interpretation of the Inspired Writings must be left to the discretion of every private spirit; that this liberty contradicts St. Peter's doctrine, is the source of all 2 Pet. i. 20. sects, and, without prevention, will bring these kingdoms to confusion ; that the affirming an argument faulty because the Papists use it, or to justify a practice because it is the custom of the reformed Churches, is no satisfaction to his majesty, unless Henderson can prove the latter infallible and always in the right, and the former always in the wrong; and that Diotrephes's ambition (who directly opposed the apostle St. John) can be an argument against episcopacy, was altogether unintelligible.”
His majesty proceeds, and urges, “ that it was Henderson's part to make good that presbyters without a bishop may lawfully ordain other presbyters. As to baptism, though his 844. majesty conceives nobody will affirm a woman can lawfully administer this sacrament, yet, when it is done, he believes the performance will have its effect. And, as to the holy
eucharist, Henderson cannot deny a lawful presbyter's being absolutely necessary for that celebration.
“ As to Henderson's discourse concerning the obligation of oaths, the king is contented to allow his principles, and be governed by his rule. But then he proves this divine is mistaken in stating the case and applying the general reasoning : for, if it is inquired for whose benefit the clause touching religion in the coronation-oath was made, the answer must be, it was made only to the Church of England. And, for the truth of the fact, the king appeals to the record ; that it is not in the power of the two houses of parliament to discharge the obligation of this oath ; that this Church never made any submission to the two houses, nor owned herself subordinate to them; that the Reformation was managed by the king and the clergy, and that the parliament assisted only in giving a civil sanction to the ecclesiastical establishment. These points being all clear to his majesty, it follows, by necessary. consequence, that it is only the Church of England, in whose favour he took the oath, that can release him from it; and that, therefore, when the Church of England lawfully assembled shall declare his majesty discharged, he shall then, and
not till then, reckon himself at liberty.' Henderson's Henderson, in his reply to this second paper, lays it down Paper, for a principle, with respect to reformation, “ that the prime June 17,
reforming power is in kings and princes ; that, in case they fail, this authority devolves upon the inferior magistracy; and that, upon their failure in this duty, the right descends upon the body of the people ; that this principle stands upon the supposition that a reformation is necessary, and that the people's superiors will by no means give leave to the progress of it ; that it is granted such a reformation is more imperfect with respect to the instruments and manner of process, and yet commonly more perfect and refined with reference to the product and issue; that the testimonies of Jewel and Bilson, two famous English bishops, might be produced to prove that the tumults in Scotland, at the time of the Reformation, were to be charged upon the opposition of the Papists, and not upon the nobility or people who appeared against error and superstition; that, whether the English Reformation was begun in king Henry VIII.'s time or not, it was left unfi
nished by queen Elizabeth ; the father stirred the humours CHARLES of the disease, but neither the son nor the daughter discharged them thoroughly.
“ He attempts to make good the exceptions in his first letter, that the government of the Church of England is not built on the foundation of Christ and the apostles. He argues, this cannot be denied by those who confess Churchgovernment mutable and ambulatory; that the majority of the English bishops were formerly of this opinion ; that they were contented to act under the authority of princes; and that the jure divino privilege was not pleaded till lately by some few; that the English Reformation has not perfectly purged out the Roman leaven ; that it has depraved the discipline of the Church by conforming to the civil polity;' that it has added many supplemental Church-offices to those instituted by the Son of God; that such additions are no less unlawful than the suppressing offices warranted by divine institutions.
Henderson insists, that in his Answer to the King's First Paper, he brought several reasons to prove that a bishop and presbyter were terms equivalent in Scripture; and that by consequence, there no difference in the office. And whereas the king averred, that Presbyterian government was never practised before Calvin's time; he endeavours to disable this assertion, by the answer given by the reformed to a question commonly put by the Papists. For when those of the Roman Communion ask the Protestants, where their Church was before Luther ? one part of the answer is, that it is to be found in Scripture.' The same may be affirmed of Presbyterian government. In proof of this point, the assembly of divines at Westminster have made it evident, that the primitive Church at Jerusalem was governed by a presbytery. In order to the proof of this, they made it appear,
“ First. That the Church of Jerusalem consisted of more congregations than one that this is evident from the multitude of believers, from the number of apostles, and other preachers there, and from the diversity of languages among the faithful.
Secondly. That all these congregations were combined under one Presbyterial government: that with reference to government, they made no more than a single Church : that 26.
Acts xi. 22.